PNS Daily Newscast - July 18, 2019 

The U.S. House voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt for defying congressional subpoenas related to the U.S. census.

Daily Newscasts

Fox Penning - Recreation or Blood Sport?

January 26, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. - The practice of fox penning, where wild foxes are trapped, brought to enclosures and used to train hounds for hunting, is drawing the ire of some in the state. State lawmakers are considering two bills which would ban the practice.

Animal-rights activists claim the practice is cruel and unfair because the trapped wild foxes have no way to defend themselves from the dogs. Laura Donahue, state director for the Humane Society of the United States, says Virginia has about 40 licensed fox pens, also referred to as "foxhound training preserves."

"In these pens, participants stage competitions to judge how long the dogs will pursue the captive wildlife. The dogs often harm and kill the fenced foxes, which fuels the constant and often illegal interstate demands to stock these enclosures with more foxes."

Donahue says fox penning is not to be confused with fox hunting, considered by many to be a traditional sport. She calls fox penning a 'blood sport' contrary to the hunting credo.

"Most hunters embrace conservation ethics. They embrace the ethics of fair chase, and this really goes against the grain clearly of that, when you have these fenced pens where the foxes can't escape. The foxes are always the losers in this competition."

Fox pens are regulated by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Those in favor of keeping fox penning legal say the fenced foxes have plenty of escape routes, and foxes are rarely killed. Donahue disagrees, claiming the pens reportedly have restocked more than 3,600 foxes in the past three years. Florida banned fox penning two years ago.

The two bills being considered in committee are HB 695 and SB 202.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - VA